Howard Wolowitz is an aerospace engineer and former NASA astronaut who works at Caltech in Pasadena. Howard is married to Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz and is best friends with Raj Koothrappali.
Howard's personality has changed over the years from an often inappropriate, budding ladies' man to being the first of the guys to get married and settle down. Among his friends and on the Internet, Howard and his online alter-ego Wolowizard had a creepy reputation. Howard was known for his inappropriate advances on just about any woman he came in contact with and his various schemes to meet women.
Howard is known for his bright, tight-fitting clothes, which are usually worn with a turtleneck or dickey, and large collection of belt buckles. Howard's style does include more mainstream elements like Vans trainers, denim and leather jackets. Unlike Sheldon and Leonard, Howard does not usually wear superhero or geeky t-shirts.
For a long time, Howard's vehicle of choice was a Vespa scooter, though he now drives an SUV. Besides English, Howard speaks French, Mandarin, Russian, Arabic, Persian and Japanese (oh, and Klingon). Howard has described himself as "bad Jew" as he does not follow a kosher diet, often enjoying pork.
Marriage to Bernadette
When Howard called in a favor with Leonard, Penny set him up with Bernadette Rostenkowski, a microbiologist who worked at the Cheesecake Factory with Penny. Though Howard and Bernadette initially appeared to have little in common, they quickly bonded over their overbearing mothers and began dating. When Howard realised this could become a lasting relationship, he suddenly proposed to Bernadette. She did not accept the proposal, but the pair continued to date. Bernadette dumped Howard when she caught him having cyber-sex with "Glacinda the Troll" on World of Warcraft, though they got back together later.
After dating for a while, Howard proposed to Bernadette again and this time she accepted. After Wil Wheaton uploaded a video of Raj drunkenly describing some of Howard's sexual conquests, Bernadette questioned their impending marriage. A heart-felt apology from Howard for his past behavior won Bernadette over and, true to his word, Howard has since left behind much of his previous creepy behavior.
Bernadette decided that they should get married before Howard went in to space. When the couple were unable to wed at City Hall, they agreed to marry on the roof of the guys' apartment as the Google Earth satellite passed above. Sheldon, Leonard, Penny, Raj and Amy became ministers and performed Howard and Bernadette's wedding.
When Howard returned from space, Bernadette had to tell him to stop talking about his time up there - even though Howard thought it was likely to be the greatest accomplishment of his life. Following his return to earth, Bernadette insisted Howard finally move out of his mother's house. Howard only recently noticed that when she's angry, Bernadette sounds a lot like Mrs. Wolowitz.
Howard is the product of an overbearing Jewish mother, Debbie Wolowitz. Although Howard was often angry about his mother's dominance of his life, he undeniably remained dependent on her until his relationship with Bernadette started to get serious. His strong bond with his mother was likely the result of Howard's father leaving him and Mrs. Wolowitz when Howard was young. Howard has described how when his mother started dating after her husband left, Howard was a jerk to her about it. As a result, Mrs. Wolowitz didn't really date again and was always alone.
In February 2015, while on a trip to Florida, Mrs. Wolowitz passed away in her sleep. Howard has generally coped well following the loss of his mother, though he was incensed when the airline nearly lost Mrs. Wolowitz's ashes. Following a power cut at Mrs. Wolowitz's house, Howard and the gang gathered to eat all her leftover food in a final family dinner cooked by Mrs. W.
Howard's best friend is Raj Koothrappali. During Howard's single days, they were particularly close. Beverly Hofstadter described their relationship as an ersatz homosexual marriage. Despite their close bond, Howard would often leave Raj if he thought he had the chance of hooking up with a girl.
Howard is frequently the butt of Sheldon's jokes and the recipient of his condescension. As a result, Howard is not the most tolerant of Sheldon's quirks and has, at times, played a number of practical jokes on Sheldon. Sheldon views himself as Howard's slightly apathetic tertiary friend. When Howard first met Sheldon, he described him as a cross between C-3PO and Pee-Wee Herman (C3-Pee-Wee Herman). In a bid to improve their sometimes frosty friendship, Howard invited Sheldon along to see him give a speech at NASA in Houston. When their aeroplane was subject to strong turbulence, a terrified Howard and Sheldon both apologized to each other for their past behavior.
Howard and Leonard's friendship is much simpler than his with Sheldon, as they both generally respect each other. Howard described how he and Raj only became friends with Sheldon because they liked Leonard.
From the moment they first met, Howard's inappropriate hitting on Penny gave her the creeps, and she struggled to befriend him like she did the other guys. Over time, Penny got to know the nice and sometimes sad guy underneath Howard's horny exterior, but she still was uncomfortable with his "creepy candy coating". After Howard and Bernadette started dating, Penny has been impressed by how much Howard has matured and left behind his former sleaziness.
Howard and Stuart have generally had a cordial friendship, though they were not particularly close. When Howard went to space, Raj bonded with Stuart and, upon his return, Howard was somewhat jealous of their new friendship. Howard's relationship with Stuart deteriorated when Stuart moved in, at Howard's suggestion, with Mrs. Wolowitz to take care of her after an accident. Stuart become very close to Debbie and Howard thought he was mooching off her. Howard angered further when Stuart invited Howard's cousin Jeanie to a party. Mrs. Wolowitz's support as Stuart re-opened the comic book store also upset Howard, though he moved past this after Mrs. Wolowitz died.
Unlike Leonard, Sheldon, Raj, Amy and Bernadette, Howard does not have a Ph.D., instead having a master's degree from MIT. Sheldon is often condescending and derisory towards Howard for his lack of a degree and about engineering in general.
Howard's work has often included projects for NASA, even though he once crashed the Mars rover in a ditch while trying to impress a woman. Howard co-designed the Pishkin-Wolowitz Liquid Waste Disposal system, though a fatal flaw which he was unable to fix caused a messy incident aboard the space station.
When NASA selected Howard's team's design for a deep field space probe, Howard got the opportunity to visit the International Space Station as a payload specialist. After a bad time in survival training, Howard's mission to space was temporarily scrubbed, causing him some relief. When NASA later reinstated the mission, Howard had a heart to heart with Bernadette's dad, Mike, who encouraged him to go to space.
Howard's time in space was anything but pleasant as the other astronauts made him do grunt work and generally bullied him. Still, Howard couldn't help himself from repeatedly bringing up his time in space when he returned to earth, much to the annoyance of those around him. When NASA offered Howard the opportunity to go back to space, he was eager to recreate his most important accomplishment. Bernadette and Raj attempted to talk Howard out of it and, when he found out he would have to do survival training again, Howard faked his medical so he couldn't be part of another space mission.
Sheldon: Sheldon Cooper does not cry.
Howard: That's true, you'd rust.
Howard: You know, I'm really glad you decided to learn Mandarin.
Howard: Once you're fluent, you'll have a billion more people to annoy instead of me.
Stuart: I'm not bringing your mother. I have a date.
Howard: Oh, so now you're cheating on my mother.
Bernadette: Maybe we should get one of those machines to help her up the stairs.
Howard: You mean a fork lift?
Sheldon: You shot your spit in my mouth!
Howard: Is that gonna be on the test? Because I don't think I can do that again.